ATCA Bulletin | Issue 5, 2017

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Air Traffic Control Association

No. 5, 2017

A Look Back at


Technical Symposium 2017

IN THIS ISSUE: »» Jim Eck’s Long Game with NextGen Implementation »» When it Comes to TBM, Government’s from Mars, Industry’s from Venus »» ATCA’s Membership Manager Hits the Streets


No. 5, 2017 Published for

By Peter F. Dumont, President & CEO, Air Traffic Control Association

Elegance and Repeatability for TBM

1101 King Street, Suite 300 Alexandria, VA 22314 Phone: 703-299-2430 Fax: 703-299-2437 President & CEO: Peter F. Dumont Managing Editor: Kristen Knott


id you catch Jim Eck’s speech at the Tech Symposium in Atlantic City? If not, you missed an excellent keynote by the FAA’s Assistant Administrator for NextGen. Most of us know Jim and know that he is a smart leader with strong skills and solid ideas on how to move NextGen forward. He is also an excellent speaker who blends personal stories with substantive challenges, lessons learned, and a description of the strategic vision along with a discussion of the tactical steps to get there. It was a great example of a motivational leader outlining the challenges being faced in the National Airspace System’s (NAS) transition to a time-based management (TBM) system. Several themes that Jim brought up were reiterated throughout the conference. He referred to some recent readings, including the National Academy of Public Administration’s recent publication, “Building a 21st Century SES; Ensuring Leadership Excellence in our Federal Government.” Jim discussed the chapter called Confronting Complexity written by Admiral Thad Allen, former Commandant in the US Coast Guard who led the federal government response to the Hurricane Katrina and the Deepwater Horizon oil spill disasters. In his article, Thad Allen points out that complex issues facing government cannot and should not be solved by government alone. Allen points out that “any significant government performance or outcome is necessarily co-produced by multiple actors from inside and outside of government.” Jim discussed the FAA’s ability to bring stakeholder priorities in focus by using the NextGen Advisory Committee (NAC). Jim also discussed his golf swing. If solving government’s complex challenges through multiple actors and Jim’s golf game sounds like a non sequitur, it wasn’t. Drawing on his desire to improve his golf swing by buying the right clubs, Jim discussed how having the right tools is only part of the solution.

Director, Communications: Abigail Glenn-Chase Formed in 1956 as a non-profit, professional membership association, ATCA represents the interests of all professionals in the air traffic control industry. Dedicated to the advancement of professionalism and technology of air traffic control, ATCA has grown to represent several thousand individuals and organizations managing and providing ATC services and equipment around the world.

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ATCA Bulletin  |  No. 5, 2017

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PRESIDENT’S MESSAGE An elegant, repeatable swing is as important as the clubs, if not even more so. Circling back to NextGen, Jim said the tools, or platforms, are nearly complete, and now we have to move from making tactical decisions to strategic ones. He said to properly implement TBM and take advantage of the system’s residual capacity, we need every aspect of the flight – from gate-to-gate – to be efficient. We need the controllers to be prepared to use advanced tools at all times, no matter the weather. He said we are currently working on the arrival phase from the top of descent working down to the airport, and we will next add departure and en route to implement TBO. Jim said the overall goal is to have “elegant air traffic solutions that are predictable and repeatable.” He added that more detail will be discussed during the June NAC meeting. The next two panels on TBM carried on Jim’s points and discussed the need to be both repeatable and flexible and the complexity that results in a system that needs to be both. When you have a limited resource (airspace) and have to consider both fairness requirements and user preferences, developing a system that is good for the whole may be difficult. The key, however, is to have a solution that is “co-produced.” As always, the Tech Symposium brought many important problems, issues, and solutions to the table. I particularly enjoyed the participation by our Young Aviation Professionals (YAPs), including a panel of young STEM-educated YAPs from the Tech Center. They all agreed on the importance of clear communication, especially when discussing complex problems and solutions. They mentioned model-based system engineering techniques that add visual models to the traditionally written documentation. They also recommended using story boarding and the tool Slack to enhance

collaborative solutions. A YAP also won ATCA’s Technical Paper Competition – the audience awarded Rocio Frej Vitalle of CSSI, Inc. for her paper, “An Analysis of En Route Wake Turbulence Behavior Based on In-Flight Measurements.” As always, the reason the Tech Symposium was once again so successful is ATCA’s strong partnership with FAA and NASA. The Tech Center Tuesday event, sponsored by the William J. Hughes Technical Center, was even larger than last year, and the high attendance reflected the added interest and value the FAA and NASA demonstrations bring to the attendees. But we won’t stop at Tech! We are continuing to listen to our membership and shape meaningful programming. A great example is our next event, ATCA presents Aviation Cybersecurity on June 23 in Arlington, Va., which will feature information on UAS cybersecurity measures, a cyber update from FAA executives, and an interactive transatlantic tabletop exercise. ATCA was one of the first organizations to host such an event. Registration is open and I hope to see you there. To paraphrase Thad Allen’s wise words, today’s solutions to complex problems are co-produced, and we need and appreciate your attendance, participation, sponsorship, and support to help us develop solutions to our air traffic problems. Thanks to everyone who attended the Tech Symposium, and if you get a chance to see Jim, ask him about his golf game. He loves to talk about it.

“To properly implement TBM and take advantage of the system’s residual capacity, we need every aspect of the flight – from gate-to-gate – to be efficient. We need the controllers to be prepared to use advanced tools at all times, no matter the weather.” ATCA Bulletin  |  No. 5, 2017


Jim Eck’s Long Game with NextGen Implementation Kristen Knott, ATCA


ttendees learned a few things about FAA’s Assistant Administrator for NextGen Jim Eck in his opening keynote address: he’s well read, he loves sports, and he’s playing the long game when it comes to NextGen implementation. It turns out that golf, Eck’s game of choice, is the perfect sport to learn when you’re the chief pioneer of the future of our air transportation system (no big deal, right?). It’s a game that requires immense patience and provides the perfect analogy for modernizing the NAS. “A simple, repeatable swing is what really matters,” said Eck, citing Ben Hogan’s Five Lessons: The Modern Fundamentals of Golf. He urged the audience to hang in there. “Your worst day can turn into your best day [in golf ],” he added. “Now is not the time to reconsider everything we’ve done – we’ve got the platform in place,” Eck said, subtlety referencing NextGen naysayers. “Even if our plan is not perfect, we are on solid footing with what is technically feasible as we continue to work out some of the more complex integration details.” “Emerging and space tools, metering tools – we need to start to bake them into the culture,” said Eck. “There’s a lot more power in those tools than we’ve shown to date; the tools need to match the swing.” Eck knows that TBM and trajectory based operations (TBO) are the next step for NextGen. And while neither are new concepts by any means, fully utilizing them in the NAS with all stakeholders is a newer endeavor. Of course, this will be on Eck’s mind when he speaks to the NAC later this month. The meeting will focus on the path forward with TBO, and Eck will ask for the NAC’s recommendations on time, speed, and spacing. “An active engagement of stakeholders is critical to get to a trajectory-based operation,” said Eck, adding that the integration of NextGen TBM tools by all parties involved is what the FAA has been working towards since the beginning. “It will take a fairly tremendous cultural change – all the actors in the system have to have the same common operating picture.” “We’ll work on those technical and operational challenges hand in glove,” said Eck, citing the two greatest challenges with TBO integration in the NAS. Eck believes the aviation industry is on the back nine holes now with NextGen.


ATCA Bulletin  |  No. 5, 2017

The Journal of Air Traffic Control


When it Comes to TBM, Government’s from Mars, Industry’s from Venus By Kristen Knott, ATCA


he ATCA Tech Symposium first morning sessions turned into part counseling session for the polygamous marriage that is NextGen’s integration into the NAS. Their biggest issue – what finally convinced them, the stakeholders, to book that appointment – is transitioning to a TBM system. FAA, National Air Traffic Controllers Association (NATCA), NASA, airlines, airports, and industry shared a stage at the event, they didn’t hold back expressing their thoughts about TBM’s technologies, capabilities, and challenges. It’s a complicated relationship, for sure. Everyone seems to be prioritizing different things, and some want to place increased flight efficiency above all else (except safety, of course). As Capt. Wes Googe of American Airlines said, you can land 150 aircraft in an hour at Charlotte Douglas International Airport (his home base), but where do you put them once they’re there? “The process isn’t just about aircraft in the air – it’s about gate-to-gate,” agreed Jack Christine of Charlotte Douglas International Airport. “We helped integrate the ATD-2 (Airspace Technology Demonstration 2) effort, trying to take data and integrate it to better manage traffic gate-to-gate, but how does it fit with the rest of the system?” TBM will be driven by TBO, a cornerstone of NextGen. According to the article “The Time Has Come for Time-Based Management”: “TBO involves pilots, controllers, air traffic managers, airlines, and other NAS operators exchanging four-dimensional trajectories (4DT) – the three spatial dimensions plus time – for flight planning, strategic operations management, aircraft sequencing, spacing, and separation. TBO will shift the FAA from supporting individual flight paths to gate-to-gate, NAS-wide trajectory operations that extend benefits to all phases of flight. TBO will enable controllers to sequence traffic in congested metroplex airspace so arriving flights begin their continuous descent as closely spaced as possible.”[1] Although TBM and TBO are decades-old concepts, stakeholders took the plunge more than a decade ago with Time Based Flow Management (TBFM), which replaced the Traffic Management Advisor (TMA) system. It uses timebased scheduling to give controllers better predictability and to help direct the steady stream of aircraft to capacity-constrained areas. *Read the full article in the summer issue of The Journal of Air Traffic Control.


[1] Bradford, Steve. FAA, “The Time Has Come for Time-Based Management,” ATCA Today, Oct. 2016.

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ATCA Bulletin  |  No. 5, 2017

OSIUM 2017

ATCA Bulletin  |  No. 5, 2017



Congrats to our 2017 Technical Papers and Presentation Competition Winner Rocio Frej Vitalle of CSSI, Inc! Her paper, “An Analysis of En Route Wake Turbulence Behavior Based on In-Flight Measurements,” was the big winner. Look for it in the fall issue of The Journal of Air Traffic Control.

“Mentorship was key. Early on in my career, I had mentors who gave me feedback – good, bad, and ugly. That was the biggest help for me. Second was not being afraid to take risks – that’s how I got into commercial space.” – Marie Kee, FAA Tech Center, at the YAP Impact at the WJHTC and Contribution to the NAS panel.


ATCA Bulletin  |  No. 5, 2017

“The biggest challenge for data whisperers is creating simplicity out of the complexity … The system of systems is complex, so our challenge is to take the data treatment and manage the complexity in the back room and then create simple interactions between the decision makers which will allow you to operate more efficiently.” – Dr. Chip Meserole, The Boeing Company, at the Data Whispers That Turn Data Analytics to Action Panel.

“SpaceX’s box is getting smaller and smaller as they go and do more. SpaceX has only gotten more flexible as they’ve matured … the first stage boosters qualified for 10 times use – for modern refurbishment, 100 times. It’s what we work to in every department at SpaceX: to be used 10 times with no refurbishment.” – Kevin Hatton, FAA Licensing Manager for SpaceX, at the Integrating Commercial Space Operations into the NAS panel.

ATCA Bulletin  |  No. 5, 2017



With the ever-growing amount of traffic in the sky, air traffic management (ATM) is a critical priority that requires continuous progress. Working together with industry and government organizations, Boeing is committed to an ATM transformation that improves safety, efficiency and the environment for all. At the core of Boeing’s ATM solutions are secure network-centric operations that will incorporate the capabilities of modern airplanes, as well as ensure global interoperability and real-time access to critical information. The time is now, and Boeing is ready to help.


Membership Manager Hits the Streets Tim’s Visit to Vaughn College


ith every box on my “Visit Vaughn College” checklist checked, I hopped on the train from Union Station in Washington, D.C., to Penn Station in New York City. Other than the derailment earlier in the week that slowed me down for the last two hours, the trip was fine. I was scheduled to speak at longtime ATCA member Vaughn College of Aeronautics and Technology. Arriving a couple hours early for my meeting with Vaughn’s ATC organization, VATCO, I got to sit in on a couple of simulation scenarios that the students were going through with two former FAA controllers, Roy Kennis and Steve Fanno. Both professional controllers displayed an amazing ability to calmly and effectively guide their students through their scenarios offering immediate, constructive feedback. The students displayed a sense of confidence, without arrogance, accepting the feedback from their instructors with an appropriate amount of respect and awe for the veteran controllers’ skills. When the club gathered, I sat before about 20 students led by Katherine Inamangua, president of the VATCO. The students ranged from freshmen to seniors, all with a major interest in ATC and a love for aviation. It reminded me of my days many years ago as a high school social studies teacher. Welcome back, Mr. Wagner!

Tim Wagner, ATCA

We discussed ATCA’s role as the professional aviation membership organization offering opportunities for aviation professionals from students to YAPs and through retirement. Those opportunities were the main themes with an emphasis on student and YAP memberships, ATCA events, networking as a career lifestyle, and ATCA-sponsored student scholarships. The students were engaged and well-informed. They asked probing questions about NextGen progress, the FAA’s Collegiate Training Initiative (CTI) policy, and veterans programs. Adorned in ATCA gear, the club attendees adjourned the meeting determined to stay in touch and work on some the items they raised in the Q&A portion of the meeting. Vaughn College and VATCO are committed to their participation at ATCA events in 2017. Then Pete Russo, chairman of the aviation department, and Dr. George Tracy, professor and my main contact for the visit, hosted a catered lunch in the Vaughn Tower. This tower is located just outside of the fence and runway 4 at LaGuardia Airport. We ate and watched the planes take off and land at a very foggy airport. A perfect ending to a perfect visit. Want to learn more about ATCA’s membership and student/YAP opportunities? Contact today! ATCA Bulletin  |  No. 5, 2017


Another Tech Center Tuesday in the Books! NIEC Lab Track Tour Doesn’t Disappoint Kristen Knott, ATCA


ver wonder where NextGen concepts are tested before they’re released into the wild (aka the NAS)? The answer is the NextGen Integration and Evaluation Capability (NIEC) lab at the FAA’s William J. Hughes Technical Center (Tech Center). ATCA Technical Symposium attendees were treated to a tour as part of Tech Center Tuesday on May 16. The NIEC, which opened in 2009, conducts early proof of concept studies and rapid prototyping to mitigate risks and improve operational performance across

all NextGen solution sets. Essentially, the NIEC is the heart of NextGen research and development (R&D). The lab can simulate almost any scenario, using capabilities like 300+ airport views. To date, the lab has conducted 42 human-in-the-loop simulations. “We have the ability to do whatever you want here,” said Robin Peterson-Brown, FAA. “We help you answer questions.” The NIEC tour provided an in-depth view of some of the lab’s demonstrations, including the Distributed Environment for Simulation, Rapid Engineering and Experimentation (DESIREE) software, which simulates air traffic automation. DESIREE can work with any graphical user interface and tracks brainwaves and eye movements. On another part of the tour, guests were treated to the NIEC’s cockpit “simulator of dreams,” which can provide analysis in real time. “Every touch, dial, and knob turned is recorded,” said Matthew Kukorlo, FAA controller who works in the NIEC lab. A major asset of the NIEC is its ability to evaluate NextGen’s integration into the NAS, so of course a major part of

Officers and Board of Directors Chairman, Charles Keegan Chair-Elect, Cynthia Castillo President & CEO, Peter F. Dumont East Area Director, Susan Chodakewitz Pacific Area, Asia, Australia Director, Peter Fiegehen South Central Area Director, William Cotton Northeast Area Director, Mike Ball Southeast Area Director, Jack McAuley North Central Area Director, Bill Ellis West Area Director and Secretary, Chip Meserole Canada, Caribbean, Central and South America, Mexico Area Director, Rudy Kellar Europe, Africa, Middle East Area Director, Jonathan Astill Director-at-Large, Rick Day Director-at-Large, Vinny Capezzuto Director-at-Large, Michael Headley Director-at-Large, Fran Hill

that is unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) R&D. Countless now commonplace FAA concepts began at the NIEC. The small UAS rule, Part 107, for example, was born there. “[UAS] is a square peg in a round hole type of problem,” said Phil Maloney, an aerospace engineer in the Tech Center’s UAS engineering branch. “We need a balance between business case and safety case.” The NIEC does UAS work for modeling, simulation, and flight testing using seven systems, which are all maintained in partnership with manufacturers like Boeing, INSITU, AAI Corp., General Atomics, and Northrop Grumman. The UAS tested range in size from a small quadcopter to the approximately 15,000 lb. Northrop Grumman RQ-4 Global Hawk, which is the NIEC’s largest and most autonomous unmanned aerial vehicle. The NIEC track tour on Tech Center Tuesday proved that the future is at the FAA’s Tech Center.

Staff Ken Carlisle, Director, Meetings and Expositions Theresa Clair, Associate Director, Meetings and Expositions Glenn Cudaback, Manager, Digital Media and Marketing Abigail Glenn-Chase, Director, Communications Ashley Haskins, Office Manager Kristen Knott, Managing Editor & Writer Christine Oster, Chief Financial Officer Paul Planzer, Manager, ATC Programs Rugger Smith, International Development Liaison Sandra Strickland, Events and Exhibits Coordinator Tim Wagner, Manager, Membership